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only rats win the rat race

OK…so choose.

You can be a victim, a hero, or a persecutor. The Karpman Drama Triangle describes how some people live in this trichotomy. The victim sees themselves as blameless. They desire to be loved no matter what.
The hero likes to be the rescuer, to be good. The persecutor likes to be always right.

The theory says that people who live in the drama triangle choose one or two favored positions. We live in one role and sometimes switch around, but the chaos protects us from actually dealing with the problem. There is no solution, only problems because the drama is the goal. The responsibility remains out in space, unowned. The internal conflict gets to be ignored because life is all about creating conflict and stirring it up in others’. There is no empathy, only absorption in the roles of the triangle. It feeds emptiness, and provides identity because the two people can jump from one identity/role to another.

I just recently was re-introduced to this concept. There are those who think that living in this triangle, particularly if someone is trying to break the cycle, that leads to divorce. I read that 75% of all marriages end because the woman asks for divorce. The majority of men polled said they had no idea it was so bad and were totally unable to change in time. Most of the time there were years of resentment and anger built up. There was a complete lack of communication and honesty.

It got me to thinking about my marriage and divorce. My first impulse was to point fingers and avoid responsibility. I tried to think of myself as blameless. (oops) I wanted to be safe and to be pitied. I will also admit that the understanding of my manipulation by assuming the victim role upset me and I thought of becoming the persecutor. I figured if I was right then I wouldn’t be the victim anymore. Honestly, then I thought if I took the higher ground I could become the hero. (I have always wanted to be a hero.) As I read about the triangle, I became a little more confused. I could see my ex and I running around the drama triangle with glee. I understood our need to avoid problems and pretend to be perfect. I could see how some of my responsibility taking upset that triangle. I was actually told once to stop taking so much responsibility. (I wonder if I was actually taking responsibility or was playing the victim.) I was so entrenched in blaming my ex-wife for living in the drama triangle, I forgot that it takes 2 to play the manipulation game. The triangle doesn’t work in isolation of relationship.

After thinking of that, I actually started thinking of myself as a victim of the triangle. I felt stuck in it. I decided to look at the painful reality of my responsibility. I decided to risk being honest. I needed to be honest with myself as well as those I loved. I vowed to not be too full of myself, or too empty. It wasn’t easy to really explore my inadequacies in my marriage, my parenting, my living. I had been ill equipped to deal with internal conflict, so I created it outside of myself.

Then I decided to look at respect. Respect of others and for myself. More importantly, I needed to learn respect of the journey and not the destination. I needed to respect confronting problems rather than ignoring them. I needed to say “No” and “Yes” when appropriate.

Finally, I needed to learn to make agreements that last. I needed to compromise. I needed to learn that problems are only solved together.

Its a process.

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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in divorce, journey

 

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not such a lovely moment

I am a bit bitter right now. I am mad for sure, but also sad. I feel confused and scared. I feel like running, I feel like hiding, and I feel like fighting. My heart is confused. My head is bewildered.

My ex sent me a reminder 2 days ago about my oldest daughters track meet. It was odd because she specifically has said that she will no longer communicate other than google calendar. I didn’t think anything of it. I figured it was just more convenient to get my younger daughter there. It is raining today and I stood out in the rain so I could cheer on my oldest daughter. As she finished the race I heard other people yelling for her. It turns out my ex brought her fiancĂ© to the race. (He lives in Texas). I wondered away as I saw this stranger hugging my family.

How the heck does anyone get through divorce?

I was thinking today about how long my marriage had been mediocre at best. I thought about the times I wanted to switch careers. I imagined the Talking Heads singing, “This is not my beautiful house…” I had thought that I don’t really like my ex anymore and we really didn’t enjoy doing anything together. I remembered feeling remorse about getting married as early as the first few months. There were times that were pleasant, even good. We had fantastic kids. We painted a beautiful image, but it was a nice picture and that was it. I don’t want to be married to who she is now.

The mistake I made was praying for a life I wanted to live. I prayed to live real and honest to my God spark. You have to be careful what you pray for. I got it. And it hurts. I am not so sure I understand why I have to have so much pain all at once. I am hoping that to make up for the pain, God does some really cool thing in my life.

Oh yeah, He did. I have amazing friends. I have amazing family. I have connected with a wonderful woman. I have a house, a job (of sorts), and some dreams. I feel emotions again, sometimes all at once. I am learning about myself. I have passion. I know I am more of a weeble (I wobble and don’t fall down.) I know God is there. I know He loves me. I am safe, I am warm, I am loved.

How do we get through this? We wobble and don’t fall down. We pray. We rejoice. We feel. We live, we hurt, we dream, we LOVE.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in divorce, journey

 

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a perfect poster

I just figured out I am a movie poster. I am an advertisement that comes in a new frame from Walmart. Funny story: years ago, my family had pictures at Winter Park YMCA done. My sister knew she was going to succumb to the cancer and decided to have “Christmas in July.” We took family pictures at that time as well. The photographer took pictures of my nuclear family as well. Several months later, we discovered that he used our pictures as advertisement.

Anyway, I figured out recently that I have relished the picture mentality of life. I had a glorified image of what life, marriage, parenthood, myself was to look like. I would capture the image and print it as a movie poster or framed image. I lived life trying to perpetuate that image at all times. It was important to me to be seen as that poster. Any deviation from that image was rejected and denied. It was great. The image was perfection. It was exactly what I thought it should be like.

The drawbacks are pretty obvious. I was two dimensional. I had no depth. I spent so much energy trying to print and show the image that I was worn thin. Paper thin. A poster or a picture is easy to tear. I deluded myself in thinking that since I looked strong in the poster, I must be impenetrable. I quickly taped the holes and tatters and pretended they didn’t exist.

I was stagnant. A poster can’t change or grow. The moment in time never existed. And even if it did exist, it was in the past. Regardless, the poster will fade. The poster image will be the same. It can’t be sad. It can’t be happy. IT can’t love or hate. It is a poster.

I was bigger than life. I always thought that was a good thing. It seemed like being noticed and revered was the goal of living. I needed for people to tell me I looked good, and fun, and worthy. In order to do that, I had to be huge. I laughed the loudest, I lied about being the smartest. I judged others. I was remembering a moment after I got sober. A patient wanted medical marijuana and I refused to write the script. As he was telling me how disgusted he was with me, he exclaimed that he used to think I was bigger than life. My answer was, “So did I.” He left a little confused.

I lived afraid that someone was going to look behind the poster. I was cowering behind the poster. I drank away the fear. I hid. I ran. I isolated. The worst part is that I taught my family that the image was real and needed protected. I needed the picture because I did not like the coward behind it. And I couldn’t maintain it alone.

The poster fell as the tears won out. The image fluttered to the ground, leaving me exposed and vulnerable. However, I was free of it. My ex-wife and even my kids have begun to erect another poster. I have been excluded from that and deemed not worthy. I am not worthy of a perfect picture. I am broken, fallible, imperfect. I am also redeemed, forgiven, 3 dimension, warm, safe, and loved.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2013 in divorce, life

 

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holy moly, I am ok

Well…looky there…I’m ok. I shouldn’t be shocked or surprised, but I am. I didn’t think I could feel ok. But here I am, all ok and stuff.

I work up this morning feeling a little anxious. I am not sure why, but there was just something wrong. About 2.5 weeks ago, I decided to pray for my ex and her fiancĂ© every day for 2 weeks. I also prayed for my daughters’ emotional safety with the rapid and dramatic changes. I decided it was ok that I really only felt one truthfully. It was not an easy experiment. There were times I just couldn’t stop crying and other times, I couldn’t stop yelling. The only change I noticed in the 2 weeks is that I wasn’t emotional by the end of it anymore.

That was 1/2 week ago. I woke up this morning feeling just off center. I ruminated about the impending marriage. I am not near as concerned about that as I am with being replaced. I just feel so squeezed out of their lives. I miss them. I love them, but I am persona non gratia at this point. I was reading an article about “fused” marriages. The idea is that you get so stuck in the illusion that you cant change and grow. The marriage dies because there is no change to accommodate changing needs. I think of it as the shiny veneer of trying to be perfect. As it gets hazy or chipped, the tendency is to cover it up and hide the imperfection. If it can’t be hidden, the rejection takes place. I think I had one of those marriages. The biggest problem is that I developed a fused family. I hid my imperfection and taught my family to do that as well. My imperfection grew and was exposed. My needs had changed and I had changed, but my family couldn’t. They had never learned how.

I was feeling the rough edges of the rent caused when the fusion tore. I was anxious. I prayed. I tapped my hands back and forth. I thought stopped. I even pretended Donald Duck was saying it. Something worked. I feel ok. I am not falsely elevated. I am not down. I am ok. Thanks Donald!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2013 in divorce, journey

 

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safe

I played right field in little league. I thought it was because I was loud enough that you could still hear my chatter from there. I really was pretty zealous about me, “Hey Batter, Batter.” I would even time my “Swing, Batter,” so they would follow my directions and miss the ball. As far as chatter went, I was excellent. It was years later that I was told that right field in little league was not such a pivotal role. I also heard they stopped allowing chatter. Sad.

I daydream a lot. Its a character trait, I think. I loved to imagine being the hero. I would imagine a hit, running the bases. I liked the drama of an overthrow as I ran to the next plate. The base coach urging me on as I rounded second into third base. What’s this? Another overthrow? I round third. Arms pumping, chest heaving, heart pounding. I sense the throw as I dive into home plate. The sound of the ball in the glove, the dirt clears, the umpire spreads his arms and yells, “SAFE.”

What a great feeling that would be. I see the faces. I see my teammates declaring that, “You are safe.” I see the crowd jumping from their seats declaring, “Safe, Safe, he was safe.”

I like that word, “Safe.” As I went through my divorce, my ex would tell me she didn’t feel safe around me. She explained that she felt emotionally unsafe and vulnerable. I am not sure I understood it completely. I always thought of myself as safe, and easy to talk to. I never really thought I could be someone who another person felt unsafe around. It dug deep. In 22 years of knowing my ex, the two worst things she said about me was that she didn’t feel intimate to me anymore and this.

Recently, I was told I was “Safe”. It was different then how I used to think about it. For 22 years I was under the impression that safe was contingent on agreement. I thought that in order to have the umpire spread his arms, and for the crowd to leap, I needed to agree or comply or perform in a certain way. However, this time it was actually when we didn’t agree about something that I was told that I was safe. It was because I listened and considered and didn’t take it personally. The team mate hollered, “You are safe.” It wasn’t because I said the right thing, or agreed, or complied, or performed. It was because I stayed in the game. It was because I didn’t wonder off into left field after rounding second. I didn’t panic at being left alone when my heart pounded. It was because I didn’t worry about isolation and the cold shoulder when my breath heaved. It was because I stayed in the game.

However, it took the team mate to also be trustworthy. It took the desire to relate. It took the understanding that we are different and are sharing a journey, not an opinion. It took celebrating the home base win. It took sharing the safety.

I sure like that word.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in divorce, journey, life

 

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riding tandem…kinda

I wonder if staying married is a little like riding a tandem bicycle. It looks like fun to everyone else, but it is a lot of work. Many people daydream about how fun it will be and paint an idealistic picture in their mind’s eye. The forget about the sweat, and the traffic, and the wind, and the rain.

I have actually only been on a tandem once, but I am borrowing one to ride on a date. I am a tad worried it is not such a great idea. Let me back up. I will tell you how it was pitched to me as an idea. Recently, I fell off my bike and sprained my wrist. I am wearing a brace and the pain is pretty minimal. I was at an in service for my bus driving job. A supervisor approached me and was telling about wanting to sell her tandem. Apparently her husband is not such a great communicator. I am not totally convinced. It seems that he has ducked for branches and not said anything out loud about it. She took the hit like a champ. In marriage this would be like not warning someone the in-laws were coming to dinner.

She wasn’t done regaling stories. Stopped at the stoplight, he jumped on the pedals and started to go. Well, her feet were not in the pedals and she got a nasty bear bite from the pedal. I forgot to ask if there was blood. This would be like changing careers without the months of discussion.

Another story recanted how he likes to go uphill. He is a strong rider and wanted to attack the hill. Unfortunately, the gear choice was much to hard for her and so she struggled up the hill. Well as she cramped up, there was some discussion about compromise. This would be a lesson in being unequally yoked.

The last one recanted his desire for speed downhill. (Makes sense to me, he drug her up the hill, right?) Well, like most riders, he wanted to test his limits of speed. It was just fast enough that he didn’t hear her scream in horror. This might be like the problem between the parent who starts the food fight and the one who cleans it up.

From what I can tell, riding a tandem is all about communication. It is about sharing a journey. It is about enjoying the company and the companionship. The understanding that the journey wont be a dream, but some hard work helps to gleen the fun out of it. Enjoy the ride and wish me luck…what could go wrong?

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2013 in journey

 

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